‘You’re Next’ poised as new indie crossover hit

Sharni Vinson proves oddly capable at keeping cool and finding solutions.
Sharni Vinson proves oddly capable at keeping cool and finding solutions.

The indie horror scene has so far been content to stay indie, with DIY filmmakers cutting their teeth on cheapie anthology films that wanted little more than to scare up a couple bucks on VOD. “You’re Next,” from established director Adam Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett, premiered at festivals two years ago, and has sat on shelves since, waiting to be released as a mainstream viral sensation. But it has the feel of coming from filmmakers who’ve honed their chops. Among its expendable cast are horror filmmaker Ti West (“House of the Devil”) and Joe Swanberg (“Hannah Takes the Stairs”), and it’s poised as operating somewhere between the two: low-rent retro horror but with a mumblecore streak.

The mix is better than that, which is to say that it’s not a balance. There’s just enough formal playfulness and clever, offhand chatter to loosen up the genre, but the goods are still delievered. It’s an old fashioned home invasion thriller, where a massive gathering of a well-off family takes place in the kind of enormous, rural manse that attracts scary intruders with white fox masks. After baddies pepper a dinner with crossbow shots, mom (Barbara Crampton, “Re-Animator”) cowers and dad (Rob Moran) bugs out. But the one son’s Aussie girlfriend (Sharni Vinson) proves oddly capable at keeping cool and finding solutions — or at least gorily felling villains with kitchen utensils.

The tone — comic yet horrific — gains a lot from the indie aesthetics, although it’s nothing approaching a complete overhaul of the genre. Swanberg’s acerbic, pompous son — who enthusiastically informs West’s budding filmmaker that the best filmmaking he sees these days is with commercials — is little more than the stock comic relief, albeit an actually amusing one, who gets wounded with an arrow in the back far earlier than expected. The comedy isn’t merely verbal, but a detached, bemused tenor that isn’t above delighting in its stars’ horrible deaths.

Wingard and Barrett know enough about the horror form that they can gently toy with it while satiating viewer needs. They know how to plant elements, such as a booby trap, then wait long enough for the viewers to nearly forget them, at which point they instigate a nice payoff. By the end they appear to be going for the kind of amusingly cynical worldview as seen in the likes of Mario Bava’s “Twitch of the Death Nerve” — but they know better. More specifically, they know they want a tidy crossover hit.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.